Cricket Twenty20: England v South Africa

Amla dazzles again before washout

The South African played a brilliant cameo on a damp evening which ended with a heavy downpour

Amla dazzles again before washout

The wettest summer since 1912 returned to spoil the second Twenty20 game at Old Trafford. First, the rain delayed the start and reduced the game to nine overs a side. Then the heavy rain returned, just five balls before the game would have constituted a complete match.

South Africa had made an average score of 77-5 in their nine overs on the back of some wonderful batting from Hashim Amla (47*).

England needed to face at least five overs to make a game of it under Duckworth-Lewis rules. Their reply was stuttering at 29-2 when rain ended the contest after 4.1 overs.

At that point, England needed to score 13 runs off the next five balls to keep up with the required run rate under Duckworth/Lewis. So, it's fair to say that South Africa were slight favourites to win. However,  with Morgan and Bairstow still to bat, England could have made life difficult.

Remarkably, Amla is not always an automatic choice for South Africa in T20s despite being the highest ranked one-day player in the world. Amla replaced the out-of-form du Plessis and he batted fabulously.

How do you bowl at a man with several shots for each delivery? Steven Finn bowled two identical balls in the “corridor of uncertainty” and Amla hit them in opposite directions. One delivery was leg-glanced off his hip from outside off stump, another was cut wristily behind square.

It didn’t matter whether Amla moved across his stumps, or backed away to leg, his unerring eye meant the ball found the middle of the bat.

On a miserable, damp, chilly evening, this astonishing cameo from a great batsman in the form of his life provided some memories for the doughty spectators who stayed to the bitter end.